Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall Perspective

It was a beautiful weekend here in Rhode Island. Temperatures in the low 70s and crisp blue skies.  I set my standards high for a weekend of fall festivities only to be consumed with house projects.  We were going to spend the last glorious weekend of September chasing each other through a corn maze, apple picking at a nearby orchard, wake skating on a glassy Sunday, experiencing "water fire" in Providence which we've waited for for a year now, and walking through quaint Weetamoo Woods.

And then the reality of it.

We did house projects. And by that I mean Andrew crawled under the back living room and cleaned out the disintegrating old insulation while brushing away dried animal turds while I filled 5 lawn bags with this crap.

Scary 1

Scary 2

Priming the cast iron baseboards
Digging the porch footings
Painting the cast iron baseboards: round 1
I do not recommend cast iron baseboards - they have been THE most time consuming and expensive project thus far!! 
It was not glamorous nor full of those long awaited fall festivities. And I have to admit I was disappointed.  Bummed even to waste such a good weekend on things that in my opinion could wait.

But the reality of it is that now is the time. This fall might not meet my expectations in the traditional way, but I will have to keep this in mind...

"You may not be where you want to be yet, but if you think about it, you're no longer where you once were either." 

The list of projects is sometimes overwhelming and I asked myself this weekend why in the hell did we buy such a BIG project.  I for one don't want this house to rule my life or deprive me of funds for a vacation or getaway.  I don't want to be a slave to my yard work or the fact that my house is crumbling before my eyes. Every new home owner must feel like this at one point or another, right?!?

On the bright side, this house is providing a creative outlet for Andrew and I.  A time to share laughs over dried turds and falling wood stacks.  A place to call our own.  And a place to start our lives together.

We live in an "instant gratification" society and I cannot help but fall into the trap sometimes.  We want things NOW or better yet, YESTERDAY.  And frankly, we can't have it all now.  This house, this sweet place we call home is an investment and one day our "sweat equity" and beautiful weekends spent cleaning our old turds will pay off...

To be fair though, we did do a few fall things and they were GLORIOUS!

Friday night Lobster dinner with the Dufurs
Apple Picking with family

Uncle Dandy, Eloise & Curly

Beautiful Old Stone Orchard
Sweet Family Time
Piggy loves Uncle Dandy
All hopped up on sugar
First marshmallow for Benedict's 9 month old birthday! Delicious

Monday, September 23, 2013

Relocation Program

"If you don't work here, you have to leave." This is the new motto for 82 Middle Ave seeing as we have had 3 visitors in the last week.

Gary the Groundhog.  A dead rabbit. And our new fat friend, Rocky the Raccoon. 

Rocky found his way into the trap whilst out looking for a late night snack of cucumber and salami. He shamelessly waddled out of the trap to join Gary the Groundhog in Weetamoo Woods after 10-12 hours behind bars.   Its all part of our "Relocation Program".  Maybe their other furry friends and cousins will get the message?!

After we tended to Rocky, we knocked off things on the punch list and as houses go, inevitably added more on. Its a vicious cycle I am learning. Here is the short and sweet of our 10 hour work day...

We managed to fill this 10 yard dumpster in 4 hours

Sledge hammering all the concrete so we can build our side deck
We cleared out all the crap, rotting shed and the cord of wood behind the garage
Andrew and I stacked wood as the last project of the day. Too bad it all fell down an hour later. 

After tearing open the rotting wood under our back living room, these are the brilliant posts holding up the room.  Shocking, not shocking.

TODAY - after tearing off the steps, railing, bushes and deshingling

Tyveked and ready for new shingles, insulation and non rotting wood:)

All in a days work.  Stay tuned for later this week. We will find out what animal likes pork tenderloin and red pepper and wants to join some furry friends in Weetamoo Woods!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013



At dinner tonight Andrew took a deep sigh and said, "Poor Gary, I hope he's ok in the woods"..."Do you think he'll write?"... "I can't believe you wanted to kill him. You Southerners are sick".

I live with an animal lover.  I am realizing more and more that Andrew chose the wrong path in life. He should be volunteering at the SPCA, working as a veterinarian, or fighting in DC as an animal rights activist.  Gary the groundhog has been destroying the insulation underneath our house, eating our neighbors plants and telling his offspring to jump in our dryer vent, and yet, Andrew still is sympathetic and loving towards our furry housemate. I love that man with all my heart, but come on.

I came home today at noon and thought I had had a productive morning. When I left the house at 8:20 there was no Gary in the "Have a Heart" trap.  Andrew prances in the door 15 minutes after me and goes directly to the white board with our massive punch list of "to-dos".  I am starting to explain my productive morning when he erases the "Kill Gary" task and says, "Whelp, I was more productive than you. Gary is in the trap in the back of my truck. Lets take him to Weetamoo Woods down the road."


Gary was in the back of the truck. We took him to the corn field at Weetamoo Woods and you should have seen him scurry his way out of the trap.  I have never seen a groundhog before, but let me tell you, they can RUN when it comes to their freedom.


Now back to the ever growing "Punch List"...

Notice the hideous wallpaper that once was in our living room...

We are both FINALLY back at home after being away the entire summer.  Andrew and I spent this past week sailing from Newport to Greenwich, CT on Spartan for his last hoorah on the boat.  I shed a tear as we rounded the last red nun in the channel to Mystic Shipyard...I think I was more sad to see that part of our lives fade away than Andrew was or at least let on.  Its funny how a boat made of wood can become such a part of one's life and memories.  Another chapter in the book.

Now our focus is completely on building our 2 businesses and THE HOUSE:) Despite being gone for 3/4 of the time we have actually lived in the house, the back living room is coming along nicely.





Gary lives to see another day. I hope he doesn't have GPS. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

So Long Summer

(Written 2 days ago...)

Someone flipped the switch. The air turned brisk, the sky brilliant blue and the people dispersed. I woke up this morning for my last day in Nantucket and said goodbye to summer and hello to fall.  Its kind of a strange feeling when this happens. We all wish longingly for summer to last just a few weeks longer.  For the water to stay warm and the sand to run between our toes just one day longer.  I wished for it when I was young and I still wish for it. Growing up in Virginia I never realized how blessed we were - Summer is almost 5 months long. Here in New England...its 2 1/2 months...on a good year!  So you learn to savor it just a bit more.

This morning I decided to take a 2 hour bike ride to my favorite spot - Sanford Farm. This 780 acre park has three trails, old pastures, meadows and views of ponds and the ocean near Madaket. It is so quiet there you can hear the wind whistle through the weeds, the hawks soar overhead, and the yellow lab come panting up behind you.  It is a special place, one which I feel embodies Nantucket's uniqueness, and today was no different. It's funny because last summer I went on this exact same bike ride on almost the exact same day with the exact same picture. 

September 5, 2012 Walk through Sanford Farms

September 4, 2013 Bike through Sanford Farms

I started to think about the summer and all that those 66 days offered me. I was a photographer at dawn and dusk, a sailor by day and a babysitter at night. I held three jobs, 7 days a week, 10-15 hours a day. I did 21 family portraits, 1 engagement shoot, 1 wedding (second shooter) and 1 4 day regatta.  I sailed 47 days despite the see-saw of terrible weather and comings and goings.  It was hard work, but it was short and sweet when you think about it.  I was there for just under 10 weeks when you don't count my week in Maine.  That brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "short summer".  And still I had some time to do a few things that I wanted to do - paddle boarding, traveling to Maine to sail with Spartan and photograph a regatta, beach time, a few nights out with friends and some shopping during the end of summer sales.

But mostly what I think of from this summer are the lessons I learned and the opportunities I was given.   I took a risk in not having a quote on quote "job".  I worked for myself and frankly, I think this suits me best. I like the flexibility, knowing that I am 99% responsible for my success, and oh wait...the flexibility.  I started my photography business essentially out of thin air this summer and proved to myself that not only do I have a talent, but people are willing to pay for it. That in itself was worth the entire summer's effort in going to Nantucket.  I needed that confidence builder!!

After a bit of reflection throughout the summer and on my last day in Nantucket, here are my top 5 lessons:
  1. You have to make a million mistakes in starting a business before you get it right.
  2. Weather and people will screw you over. This is life. Prepare for it. 
  3. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  4. I always over commit. Stop it. I can’t do it all. No one can.
  5. For everything that falls through, another opportunity will arise. 
The last statement could not be more true. Time and time again this summer something would fall through due to miscommunication, weather or summer people changing their plans on a whim.  At first I was beyond frustrated and angry.  I don't know how many times I have to learn this little gem, but somehow it all works out the way it is supposed to! Imagine that. Today was a perfect example - I had been so mad at booking my ferry ticket too late and wanting to leave the island earlier than I could get off the waitlist. I have been beyond antsy to leave the past few days. One thing led to another and at 5:45pm I was told that I could get on a 7pm ferry tonight.  Talk about packing in a hurry!! So sometimes, just like Andrew said last summer, things just work out.

And so as I threw my penny off the ferry as we rounded Brant Point, I said goodbye to Nantucket for the 3rd summer and thanked her for a successful summer and the hope of things to come.

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